STANFORD, Calif.- Sophomore Carol Zhao rallied for a 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (3) victory over Katerina Siniakova on Saturday afternoon during the first day of qualifying at the Bank of the West Classic at Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
Zhao, a wildcard entrant, dropped a tough first set before battling back against Siniakova, seeded No. 2 in the qualifying draw and ranked No. 123 in the world.
Next up for Zhao is a 12 p.m. contest Sunday on court six against Marina Shamayko, who also posted a three-set victory this afternoon.
Trailing 5-4 in the first set, Zhao extended the match to 5-5 before Siniakova captured back-to-back games. Zhao quickly moved in front 3-0 to begin the second set and held on for a 6-4 victory.
In the deciding set, Siniakova led 3-1 before Zhao stormed back to take a 5-3 advantage. Closing out the match proved to be difficult, with Siniakova ripping off three straight games for a 6-5 edge.
But Zhao then tied the match at 6-6 and cruised in the tiebreaker, winning seven of the 10 points.
An All-American in singles after advancing to the round of 16 at the NCAA Singles Championship, Zhao enjoyed an impressive rookie campaign and was named the ITA Northwest Region Player To Watch. Zhao, who was tabbed an All-Pac-12 Second Team pick, was awarded a final No. 22 national singles ranking after finishing 30-7 overall and 19-2 in duals, playing mainly at the No. 3 spot. The Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, native was dominant all year, with 27 of her 30 wins coming in straight sets while winning 17 consecutive matches from Jan. 19-April 12.
Fellow freshman Caroline Doyle nearly posted a qualifying victory of her own before dropping a 7-5, 6-3 decision to Aleksandra Wozniak, the draw’s No. 1 seed and 2008 Bank of the West Classic champion.
Trailing 2-0 in the first set, Doyle charged back to grab a 3-2 lead. Falling behind 5-4, Doyle then battled back to tie the match at 5-5 before Wozniak seized control. Wozniak, ranked No. 103 in the world, closed out the second set 6-3.
A native of San Francisco, Doyle compiled team-best records in overall matches (34-6) and duals (20-2) as a rookie for the Cardinal and earned a final No. 46 national singles ranking. Doyle, who advanced to the second round of the NCAA Singles Championship, shared the team lead with five clinching points and notched a 4-1 record in three-set matches. Doyle won all five of her matches during postseason team play, including a memorable 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (0) victory over California’s Maegan Manasse that fueled Stanford’s 4-3 comeback in the NCAA round of 16.
Sunday’s qualifying round features four matches and admission is free. The main draw competition starts Monday, July 28, with former Cardinal standout Kristie Ahn competing as a wildcard and squaring off against 2012 Bank of the West Classic runner-up Coco Vandeweghe with the date and time to be determined.
An All-American in three of her four seasons on The Farm, Ahn concluded her career with a 97-17 overall record and was 57-8 in duals. Named the 2014 ITA National Senior Player of the Year, Ahn provided the clinching point in Stanford’s 4-3 victory over Texas A&M to secure the 2013 NCAA championship. Ahn, who never lost back-to-back matches during her college career, made a successful return to the court in 2013 after missing all but three matches in 2012 due to injury and having her freshman year cut short in the postseason.
Stanford players enjoying recent success in the Bank of the West Classic include Nicole Gibbs, who reached the second round in each of the last two years and faced Serena Williams in 2012) and Mallory Burdette, who advanced to the second round in 2012.
Log on to www.BankoftheWestClassic.com for more information.
ABOUT THE BANK OF THE WEST CLASSIC: The Bank of the West Classic is the longest-running women-only professional tennis tournament in the world and is the first stop of the Emirates Airline US Open Series. Owned and operated by IMG, the WTA Premier event features a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw with total prize money of $710,000. Held on Stanford University’s campus at Taube Family Tennis Stadium since 1997, former champions include: Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Andrea Jaeger, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters.
ABOUT THE BANK OF THE WEST CLASSIC: Founded in 1874, $68 billion-asset Bank of the West (www.bankofthewest.com), Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender, offers a wide range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services. The bank operates more than 600 retail and commercial banking locations in 19 Western and Midwestern states. Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, which has a presence in 80 countries with 190,000 employees.
ABOUT THE EMIRATES AIRLINE US OPEN SERIES: Now in its 11th season, the Emirates Airline US Open Series continues to serve as a true regular season of hard court tennis, linking eight summer tournaments to the US Open. Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams won the 2013 US Open and Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s and women’s titles, each earning a record tennis paycheck of $3.6 million. Roger Federer (2007) and Kim Clijsters (2005) also accomplished the feat of winning the Emirates Airline US Open Series and US Open singles title within the same year.